Last season, we saw a great crop of rookies. This year should be no different as plenty of guys are primed to make an impact on the NHL.
Jonathan Blum (Nashville)
In 23 games last season, Blum impressed the Predators enough to trade Cody Franson to Toronto, giving Blum a full time position. The 22 year old is a good decision maker who should fit right into Barry Trotz’ system.
Erik Gudbranson (Florida)
With Florida’s roster in flux, look for Gudbranson to get a shot to play some minutes with the big club. The team is hoping his offensive game continues to develop (12 goals in the OHL last season), but is still a defensive force.
Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida)
Like with Gudbranson, Huberdeau should get a chance with the Panthers. Florida’s brass loves his unselfish play and his hustle. The Panthers don’t want to rush him, but if he’s ready, no point in holding him down.
Ryan Johansen (Columbus)
After torching the WHL for 40 goals, 92 points last season, Johansen appears ready to join the big club in Columbus. With the recent additions by Columbus, it might keep Johansen down on the team’s depth chart. Despite that, he should still produce and work his way up.
Adam Larsson (New Jersey)
New Jersey is high on their 2011 draft pick already, with teammates gushing about his preseason play. His ability to control the play is something the Devils lacked on the blueline last season.
Nino Niederreiter (NY Islanders)
El Nino is part of the up and coming core for the Islanders. He played in 9 games with the team last year, but should make this year’s team. He’ll be able show off his goal scoring ability (40, 36 last two seasons with Portland).
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton)
When you’re the #1 pick, big things are expected. However, with the wealth of young talent already on the roster, RNH might not get as big a shot as some of his teammates did.
David Rundblad (Ottawa)
Ottawa knew what they were getting when they traded their 2010 first rounder for the Swede. Rundblad will get plenty of playing time with the Sens. As a well rounded defenseman, he should make the rookie all star team.
Brayden Schenn (Philadelphia)
The biggest return of the Mike Richards trade should make the opening night roster as the third line center. If he continues to impress, he could see his ice time to increase.
Notable mentions: Jared Cowen (Ottawa), Zac Dalpe (Carolina), Tim Erixon (NY Rangers), Cody Hodgson (Vancouver), Tomas Tatar (Detroit)